Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

 Marthasterias glacialis is a large starfish up to 70 cm across, commonly 25-30 cm. It has 5 narrow tapering arms with 3 rows of longitudinal spines along each arm. The spines are white, usually with purple tips. spines are surrounded by specialised minute modified spines (pedicellariae), which are used for protection and to gather food. Marthasterias glacialis can be dirty brown to pale greyish green in colour with purple tips to the arms.Small individuals of Marthasterias glacialis may be confused with Leptasterias mulleri (Northern starfish).
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Description

This starfish is large and has five very spiny arms. Each arm bears three longitudinal rows of spike-like spines surrounded by large cushions of pedicellariae. Smaller spines may be scattered between these rows. The spines are white and usually purple-tipped and the animal varies in colour from dirty brown to greenish-grey with purple tips to the arms. Up to 35cm or more in diameter. Small individuals might be mistaken for Leptasterias muelleri.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Distribution

From low intertidal to nearly 200 m depth, on rock and gravel, on west and southwest coasts of the British Isles, Devon to Shetland
  • Southward, E.C.; Campbell, A.C. (2006). [Echinoderms: keys and notes for the identification of British species]. Synopses of the British fauna (new series), 56. Field Studies Council: Shrewsbury, UK. ISBN 1-85153-269-2. 272 pp.
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Apparently confined to the southwest and west coasts of the British Isles, also north to Scandinavia.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Physical Description

Type Information

Holotype for Asterias madeirensis Stimpson, 1862
Catalog Number: USNM 1241
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Dry
Collector(s): W. Stimpson
Locality: Madeira Islands, North Atlantic Ocean
  • Holotype: Stimpson. 1862. Proc. Boston Soc. nat. Hist. 8: 263.
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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 428 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 105 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 217
  Temperature range (°C): 7.487 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 4.573 - 11.582
  Salinity (PPS): 35.008 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.346
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.825
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.311 - 5.565

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 217

Temperature range (°C): 7.487 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 4.573 - 11.582

Salinity (PPS): 35.008 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.346

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.825

Silicate (umol/l): 2.311 - 5.565
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 Marthasterias glacialis is found from extreme low water to about 200 m. It can be found in a variety of habitats from sheltered muddy sites to wave exposed rock faces.
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This species may be found in a very wide range of habitats from sheltered muddy sites to fully exposed rockfaces. Specimens from sheltered sites are usually larger than those from exposed sites.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Breeding

Hermaphrodite. Planktonic brachiloraia larva. Spring - summer
  • Southward, E.C.; Campbell, A.C. (2006). [Echinoderms: keys and notes for the identification of British species]. Synopses of the British fauna (new series), 56. Field Studies Council: Shrewsbury, UK. ISBN 1-85153-269-2. 272 pp.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Marthasterias glacialis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 75
Specimens with Barcodes: 94
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Marthasterias glacialis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.   Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.  Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

AGACGATGACTATTTTCTACTAATCATAAGGATATTGGAACTCTATATCTCATATTTGGAGCTTGAGCTGGTATGATAGGAACAGCCATGAGAGNNATCATTCGAACCGAACTTGCCCAACCTGGATCCCTCCTACAAGAC---GACCAAATTTACAAAGTTGTAGTTACTGCTCACGCCTTGGTAATGATTTTTTTCATGGTAATGCCTATAATGATAGGAGGATTTGGAAATTGACTTATCCCCTTAATGATAGGAGCACCAGACATGGCTTTTCCTCGAATGAAAAAAATGAGATTCTGACTAATACCTCCTTCCTTTTTGCTCCTACTAGCTTCTGCTGGAGTTGAAAGAGGAGCTGGAACAGGTTGAACTATTTATCCTCCTCTCTCTAGCGGATTAGCCCATGCTGGAGGATCAGTAGACCTCGCTATATTCTCTCTTCACTTAGCTGGTGCCTCATCAATCCTTGCCTCCATAAAATTTATCACAACAATAATTAATATGCGAACTCCTGGCATGTCCTTTGACCGCTTACCCCTATTTGTTTGATCGGTCTTTGTAACCGCTTTCCTCCTCCTACTTTCCTTACCCGTATTAGCAGGAGCAATTACCATGTTATTAACCGACCGAAACATTAAAACTACCTTCTTTGATCCTGCAGGCGGTGGTGACCCCATACTCTTTCAACACCTATTCNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTATTCTTATTCTACCCGGATTTGGAATGATTTCCCACGTTATAGCCCACTACGCAGGAAAGAACGAACCTTTTGGGTATCTAGGGATGGTATACGCTATTATTTCTATTGGAATACTAGGATTCCTTGTATGAGCCCATCACATGTTTACTGTAGGTATGGACGTTGATACTCGAGCCTACTTCACCGCAGCAACTATGATAATCGCTGTCCCCACTGGAATTAAGGTATTTAGCTGAATGGCCACTCTTCAGGGAAGA---AAA
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Wikipedia

Marthasterias

Marthasterias is a genus of starfish in the family Asteriidae. It is monotypic and the only species in the genus is Marthasterias glacialis, commonly known as the spiny starfish. It is native to the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Description[edit]

Marthasterias glacialis is a fairly large starfish with a small central disc and five slender, tapering arms. Each arm has three longitudinal rows of conical, whitish spines, usually with purple tips, each surrounded by a wreath of pedicellariae. The background colour is variable and may be brownish or greenish-grey, tinged with yellow or red and sometimes with purple at the tips of the arms. This species can grow to 70 cm (28 in) but a more usual size is 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 in). It is sometimes confused with the northern starfish Leptasterias muelleri.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Marthasterias glacialis is native to the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Its range extends from Iceland to the Azores and the Mediterranean Sea, and it has been observed in South Africa.[4] Around the British Isles it is limited to the western side of Scotland, Wales, the western part of southern England and most of Ireland. Its depth range is subtidal down to about 200 m (656 ft) and it is found on both sheltered muddy substrates and on rocks.[3]

Ecology[edit]

Detail of tip of arm showing tube feet extended

Like other starfish in the family Asteriidae, Marthasterias glacialis is a predator and feeds mostly on bivalve molluscs and other invertebrates.[5] It has been found that secondary metabolites known as saponins, found within the starfish's tissues, have a dramatic effect on the whelk Buccinum undatum. At low concentrations they cause the mollusc to withdraw from the vicinity of the starfish and at higher concentrations they cause convulsions in the mollusc's musculature.[6] The sea urchins Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis and Psammechinus miliaris are also affected by the chemicals. S. droebachiensis flees but P. miliaris has toxic pedicellariae and is able to defend itself.[7]

The reproductive biology of this starfish has been little studied but off the coast of Ireland, individuals gather together in very shallow water in July and August. A few days later, on a warm afternoon, they have been observed to arch their bodies and release spawn into the sea. A rise in the water temperature seems to have triggered the spawning. Male starfish as small as 2.5 cm (1 in) were observed to spawn, and females of at least 9 cm (3.5 in) diameter.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mah, Christopher (2014). "Marthasterias Jullien, 1878". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  2. ^ Mah, Christopher (2014). "Marthasterias glacialis (Linnaeus, 1758)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Spiny starfish - Marthasterias glacialis". Marine Life Information Network. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  4. ^ a b Minchin, D. (1987). "Sea-water temperature and spawning behaviour in the seastar Marthasterias glacialis". Marine Biology 95 (1): 139–143. doi:10.1007/BF00447495. 
  5. ^ Barrett, John; Yonge, Charles Maurice (1958). Collins Pocket Guide to the Sea Shore. Collins & Co. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-00-219321-4. 
  6. ^ Mackie, A. M.; Lasker, R.; Grant, P. T. (1968). "Avoidance reactions of a mollusc Buccinum undatum to saponin-like surface-active substances in extracts of the starfish Asterias rubens and Marthasterias glacialis". Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 26 (2): 415–428. doi:10.1016/0010-406X(68)90635-X. 
  7. ^ Jensen, Margit (1966). "The response of two sea-urchins to the sea-star Marthasterias glacialis (L.) and other stimuli". Ophelia 3 (1): 209–219. doi:10.1080/00785326.1966.10409643. 
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